Friday, March 9, 2012

Spring in My Step

Is it really March already? Whatever happened to winter? Pretty soon the grass will be turning green and I haven't done anything about contracting to have it mowed this year. Whoops. But, while I may have neglected my own lawn, lots of cool things are in store for Amberley residents beginning this spring.

First of all, let's start with the new Ordinance allowing egg-laying chickens to be raised by residents in their own backyard. Consistent with the trend toward locally produced food and home gardening, it shouldn't come as a surprise that homeowners are desiring to raise their own chickens for their eggs. I have studied the current zoning in Amberley Village, and although it is my belief that our zoning did not prohibit backyard chickens, our solicitor, Kevin Frank, felt it was better if the Village had a separate ordinance pertaining to keeping chickens. I agree, as this way, there is no question as to whether residents can or cannot have chickens, and there are restrictions as to number of hens, and setbacks. Currently, Amberley -- with its large lots and bucolic atmosphere -- is one of very, very few local communities that don't allow chickens. Several residents have asked over the past few years if chickens were permitted, but were never given a definitive answer. I think that is because the zoning code was not clear on the issue. With the passage of this Ordinance, the answer will be very clear. Additionally, allowing backyard chickens allows our residents who so desire to follow the most current and healthy food trends as well as reducing their own carbon footprint and providing their families and friends with the experience of producing their own food. If you would like to read more about the history of prohibiting chickens in suburban communities, a wonderful resource can be found at Chickens for Montgomery, where the zoning code was revised in 2009 to specifically allow for chickens to be raised by residents. The first reading of Amberley's new chicken ordinance will be Monday, March 12th at the regularly scheduled Council meeting. By-the-way,  residents who live in neighborhoods with restrictive covenants, such as Rollman Estates, will not be permitted to have chickens in their yards, even with the passage of this ordinance, if their HOA specifically prohibits them.

Another sign of spring is that the new community garden at Amberley Green is staked out and ready to plow. The Amberley Green Garden will consist of garden plots that are 9x15' in size. Up to thirty-six plots can be accommodated and will rent at $50 per growing season (April to November). The entire garden will be fenced with 7 1/2 foot high deer fencing and water will be available as well as a garden cart and experienced gardeners willing to share their knowledge.  The garden will be an organic garden and there is already interest from some of our local non-profit neighbors in renting plots for educational and philanthropic purposes. The Amberley Green Garden committee will sponsor social events at the garden as well as educational presentations related to everything garden. Please be on the lookout for a flyer in your email that will be headlined "Amberley Green Garden." You will then be directed to instructions for applying for a plot and a welcome packet for gardeners. The garden is made possible from a grant from We THRIVE! which is an important initiative of the Hamilton County Dept. of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control. The purpose of We THRIVE! is to make the healthy choice the easy choice, thereby decreasing incidences of obesity and related diseases, as well as reducing smoking and increasing physical activity. It all begins at the local level, which is why grant funding was provided to a total of 12 local Cincinnati communities who are at the forefront of this movement.
Garden location "before" plowing and staking

Finally, Amberley will be championing a new, cutting-edge, initiative by Jewish Family Service of Cincinnati which is called "Community for a Lifetime." According to the most recent census, 22% of Amberley's residents are age 65 or older and the population of residents aged 50 and older is 49% higher than the national average. Due to the demographic of our community, care of our elderly population sometimes requires our police and fire department to assist our seniors in their day-to-day tasks. I recently attended the annual meeting of the Hamilton County Health District, and learned of a new and very vital and useful program called AHEAD. From this data, you can see that injuries from falls that require hospitalization among seniors in Amberley aged 65 and older are among the highest in the health district, with our neighbor, Deer Park, being even higher. Community for a Lifetime aims to take some of the pressure off our police and fire department by establishing a concierge service with our seniors so that they can form relationships with JFS social workers and, in addition, receive referrals for services they otherwise might resort to calling the police to assist with.

Don't forget to subscribe to the Village e-news at E-mail is Amberley's primary means of communicating Village news to the residents. You can also sign up for meeting notices at the same time. Look for "subscriptions" on the left-side of the Village website. Also, the easiest way to read this blog is to subscribe by email and have the content delivered directly to your inbox.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Anonymous posts will not be published. Please include your real name. Thank you.